SEGS & CECHR Seminar Regional rural development: a case of island archipelagos

It was a great honour to talk about my research at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen on 14th April 2016. Theme of the seminar was “Regional rural development: a case of island archipelagos”.


This seminar contributes to a dialogue on regional rural island development including island communities, funding and governance, with the rural islands in Scotland, Finland, Denmark and Croatia as the examples. Despite their geographical and spatial remoteness, isolation and peripherality, rural and remote islands significantly contribute to their regional economy through tourism and various ecosystem services. These elements can also represent a growing threat to island sustainable development and lead to social exclusion and slower economic growth. For governments, a better connectedness remains a key concern, including affordable ferry transport, investment into broadband and green technologies and stakeholder engagement. Changing communities’ perceptions about sustainable island management is also vital. Despite their remoteness, there are signs of growing repopulation and resilience that could be contributed, on one hand, to the government’ commitment to sustainable island development, and on the second, to island communities’ greater involvement in decision making process. Lack of comparable statistics and heterogeneity of space and data suggests adopting fieldwork approach, including ethnographic methods as well as storytelling, in gathering a local and regional picture.

Many thanks to Dr Katrin Prager for organising it.

Exploring resistance in rural and remote island communities

My long anticipated research article about island communities is out now. See: Exploring resistance in rural and remote island communities


The purpose of this paper is to discuss and use living stories to provide examples and some basic principles of cooperation as the alternative way of organising island community. This study draws upon autoethnography and storytelling to show co-operative practices. Storytelling is supported by deconstruction of living stories. Island communities create and maintain resistance through a culture of cooperation. Living stories (I-V) illustrate different instances of cooperative practices, for example, friends in need, gathering, search and moba, and where sympathy, gift, and humanity and care are essential elements. It would be interesting to explore whether island communities elsewhere exhibit similar patterns. Deconstructed stories helped in reconstructing the bigger picture of how the people on the island offer collective resistance by developing different ways of cooperation. Living stories (I-V) based on reciprocity of taking turns and giving back to the community, is a strategy for survival and of collective resistance within the rural island communities. Appreciation of the true value of collective resistance based on gift and reciprocity rather than financialisation and economisation aids to better understanding of the needs of traditional societies of island archipelagos, on the part of policy makers and other stakeholders who are involved in the process of planning for island development.


Harnessing Dis-Ability

My long anticipated paper about how disabled lecturers manage their learning and teaching, has now been published (See:Harnessing Dis-Ability). In honour of all of you out there!


Disabled lecturers at Anglia Ruskin University participated in the study ‘Harnessing DisAbility’ that explored how they manage their learning and teaching and engage students (disabled and non-disabled) in the process. The nature of study was exploratory and ethnographic. Data was collected from the lecturers on both campuses (i.e. Cambridge and Chelmsford) and include lecturer notes, video and audio recordings of the classroom lectures and individual and group interviews. The study has identified three major foci: Space, Communication and Career Development. All three significantly impact on the performance of disabled lecturers. Results show that disabled lecturers have adapted by developing their own specific capabilities in order to cope with the demands of teaching and learning. However, this means undertaking additional, unpaid work in their own time that alongside with the lack of the information often results in creating a stressful and working environment instead of a supportive one. The study concludes that disabled lecturers should be provided with a more supportive working environment through robust planning for better tailored management support as well as access to information that will, in turn, enable disabled lecturers to achieve their career aspirations and satisfaction at workplace.